Family remembers man struck and killed by lightning at Alabama beach

Local News

MOUNTAIN BROOK, Ala. (WIAT) — The family of a young man who was struck and killed by lightning are leaning on their faith after the tragic accident last weekend at Gulf Shores.

Taylor Harsh, 24, died when lightning struck him and his group of friends as they prepared to leave the beach.

He was airlifted to UAB hospital in Birmingham, but later died.

For the first time, his brother talked to CBS 42 about the life lost.

“Even though he was 2 and a half years younger than me, I looked up to him tremendously,” said Carter Harsh.

Taylor Harsh graduated from Mountain Brook High School and later the University of Alabama. He was currently working with a real estate development company.

“They say that you can fake caring, but you can’t fake showing up, Taylor Harsh was a guy that would show up,” said Carter Harsh.

Carter Harsh described his younger brother as a “rock” and platform for the family. He was known to others as a gentle giant.

“Selfishly we’d like to have him here, but there’s no way in the world that I would ever ask to bring him back because I know that he is at home with his heavenly father,” said Carter Harsh.

The family is finding comfort in their relationship with God, community, and memories of a young man they say lived his life for the Lord. The day before he died, his family said he ministered to a friend who was dealing with adversity by offering to pray.

Despite the tremendous grief, the family doesn’t question the lightning strike, believing it was an act of God.

“We believe he could have stopped it, but he allowed it to happen. And knowing that he allowed that to happen, we believe it is part of his plan,” said Carter Harsh.

While Taylor Harsh continued to fight at UAB hospital, the waiting room turned into a makeshift worship service. A video shared with CBS 42 shows dozens of people singing and praying.

“We kept praying, ‘Lord bring Taylor back. We’d love for you to raise him and give him life, and give it to him fully, but if that’s not the case, then your will be done,” said Carter Harsh.

He knows he will see his brother again someday. He’s hopeful that his brother’s spirit will live on through the many lives he has touched.

“24 years is short. It absolutely is, but 24 years is not incomplete. When you look at how Taylor invested his time and his energy and his resources, he lived a good life,” said Carter Harsh.

The family asked for any donations to be made to the Campus Crusaders for Christ, a group that Taylor Harsh was a member of at the University of Alabama.

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